Gun Group Keeps Close Tabs on Baucus

Did Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) dodge questions on gun control for three minutes?  That story is below, but first, the head of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) is keeping close tabs on US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) as President Obama has made it clear he intends to push for new gun control laws. 

MSSA’s Gary Marbut even went so far as to purchase a website, , in order to monitor the senator’s statements and positions on the issues as Baucus faces re-election in 2014. 

The Hill took note, and features this background on Baucus’ vulnerability with the gun issue:

Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, another member of the coalition, said Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would face an angry backlash if he voted for gun control.

Some gun-rights advocates in Montana still have not forgiven Baucus for backing the 1994 federal assault-weapons ban. That law expired in 2004.

“There’s no confusion on Max’s part what heavy sledding he would have in 2014 if he voted for gun control now,” said Marbut.

Baucus’ response to Marbut’s correspondence thus far appears to be vague (likely a standard form letter):

Many folks have been contacting me with their concerns about various pieces of legislation that would hamper an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.  I support the constitutional rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners, and enforcing the laws on the books to protect people from violence.  As I reflect, I am listening carefully to my bosses in Montana, and it is clear that any national discussion on gun control must also take into account the values Montanans expect me to protect.

In the past, I have supported commonsense efforts to curb violence when those efforts have not infringed upon the rights of the American people to keep and bear arms. 

Given the senator’s 2014 re-election bid, I think we can expect Baucus to continue speaking about the gun control issue using vague terms.  He may even vote against some, if not all, of the actual gun control measures.  He would then hope to vote against the proposals, while still allowing them to pass the US Senate.   

For more vague language on guns, here’s what he told Roll Call:

“Enforcing the laws we already have on the books is good first step, and it’s clear more needs to be done to address access to mental health care,” Baucus said. “Before passing new laws, we need a thoughtful debate that respects responsible, law-abiding gun owners in Montana instead of one-size-fits all directives from Washington.”

Meanwhile, did Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) dodge the questions during a recent interview with the NBC station in Missoula, Montana?  You can watch the 3 minute video clip for yourself below, but here’s what The Washington Free Beacon had to say:

“Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) appeared on KTVM in Butte, Mt. and spent three minutes avoiding directly addressing questions about his stance on the latest gun control efforts from Washington.”

(Note: I did email the Missoula NBC station (clip played on KTVM)  to verify that the three minute video clip featured the full remarks on gun control by Senator Tester.)

Did Senator Tester basically endorse VP Joe Biden’s gun control recommendations?  Senator Tester was specifically asked about Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control proposals.  Here’s what he said, when asked if VP Biden has put forward a compromise:

TESTER: “I don’t think it was put out to be a compromise.  It’s got to be more inclusive than that.  I think that its got to address a lot more of the issues than that addresses and I think thats really the bottom line.”

Newly elected Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) was much more clearly concerned about President Obama’s agenda on guns, as KBZK-TV reports:

“I am committed to protecting and defending Montanans’ Second Amendment rights, and will stand firm against efforts to infringe upon those rights. I have serious concerns that the President’s plan infringes upon the constitutional rights of the thousands of Montanans who safely and lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights every day.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Montanans will join thousands across the nation rallying at the state capitol in support of 2nd Amendment rights.  The Weekly Standard gives a mention

A group called Gun Control = More Crime is planning anti-gun control rallies at state capitol buildings across the nation. The event, being billed “Guns Across America,” is scheduled for tomorrow, January 19.

Apparently high noon is the start time.

More news on the gun control front

The Daily Caller: Biden to NRA: We ‘don’t have the time’ to prosecute gun buyers who lie on background checks

During the National Rifle Association’s meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and the White House gun violence task force, the vice president said the Obama administration does not have the time to fully enforce existing gun laws.

Jim Baker, the NRA representative present at the meeting, recalled the vice president’s words during an interview with The Daily Caller: “And to your point, Mr. Baker, regarding the lack of prosecutions on lying on Form 4473s, we simply don’t have the time or manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately.”

JOHN R. LOTT JR. in The Wall Street Journal: The Facts About Assault Weapons and Crime

Moreover, none of the weapons banned under the 1994 legislation or the updated version are “military” weapons. The killer in Newtown used a Bushmaster .223. This weapon bears a cosmetic resemblance to the M-16, which has been used by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War. The call has frequently been made that there is “no reason” for such “military-style weapons” to be available to civilians.

The civilian version of the Bushmaster uses essentially the same sorts of bullets as small game-hunting rifles, fires at the same rapidity (one bullet per pull of the trigger), and does the same damage. The civilian version of the AK-47 is similar, though it fires a much larger bullet—.30 inches in diameter, as opposed to the .223 inch rounds used by the Bushmaster. No self-respecting military in the world would use the civilian version of these guns. President’s New Gun Control Measures

Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and four schoolchildren who had written the White House in the wake of the Newtown shooting, Obama also signed 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence.

Those executive actions include strengthening existing background checks by requiring federal agencies make more data available, nominating a new director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, mandating better reporting of gun crimes and directing the Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence. He also asked doctors and other medical professionals to help by reporting threats of violence from patients with access to firearms.

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